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OU rabbi reveals kosher cheeseburgers can soon become reality

By Mason White 6:31 PM August 14, 2013
Cheeseburger illustration 

By: Ryan Lee Hall
(Scroll down for video) Just days after the tasting of lab grown beef burgers a rabbi from an influential kosher certification company said that kosher cheeseburgers are not far off from hitting the Jewish kosher market.

When the first test-tube beef burger hit the world this week, food critics wondered about the taste. For many Jews, Muslims and Hindus, the first question was whether their faith would allow them to eat it.

Religious sites were abuzz with questions and opinions this week after Mark Post, a biologist at Maastricht University, presented his innovation in London on Monday.

“Is a laboratory-created beef burger kosher?” the Chabad Lubavitch Hasidic Jewish movement asked on its website.
Dietary laws exist in many religions, but no religion mentions beef that is grown in a lab.

If religious authorities interpret their ancient texts in a way that allows them to give this new breed its blessing, kosher cheeseburgers could be possible.

Chabad Rabbi Yehuda Shurpin talked about how the Talmud speaks of “miraculous meat” that fell from the sky.
“It was automatically kosher because it was not a real animal, this could be a model for in vitro meat,” he said.

If however, the stem cells are considered real meat, it must come from a cow slaughtered according to kosher laws, which states that the animal’s throat must be cut while still conscious.

“Rabbis need to study this more carefully when the issue becomes more practical and lab grown burgers become an affordable option,” Shurpin concluded.

The Jewish prohibition of mixing meat and dairy presents another obstacle for observant Jews considering a cheeseburger.
Rabbi Menachem Genack of the Orthodox Union in New York said that in vitro meat could be considered “pareve”, meaning neither meat nor dairy, under certain conditions so that kosher cheeseburgers are a real possibility.